How to Talk to Your Parents and Get Them to Stay Home

Estate Planning in New Braunfels, San Marcos, and Seguin

By Beverly Davidek

Mar 16

There’s no doubt that your parents have survived frightening world events, whether that was World War II, the war in Vietnam, nuclear threat, illness, poverty, civil unrest, or all of the above. However, the use of the word “unprecedented” regarding what’s happening now is not an exaggeration. And they may not understand it all or what they should do, not because they aren’t wise, but because the news has been confusing to interpret.

As of March 27th, the number of COVID-19 cases across the United States was 85,356, with 1,246 confirmed deaths from the virus. To some, that doesn’t sound like that many, or seem to warrant the kind of lock-in that we need in order to stop the spread. So, if your parents are seeing these numbers, they may not be taking the need to stay home seriously.

It seems that many people of the older generation may have stepped away from the news, often in the name of not giving in to panic and stress. If your parents are continuing to get out, as much as current circumstances allow, you may be looking for support on how to get them to stay home.

By the time you get this, they may have no choice but to stay home, due to formal lock-down/quarantine “shelter in place” mandates. But, if your parents live someplace where that’s not yet the case, here’s how I recommend you speak with them now.

  1. Listen to them, and determine the concerns they have.
    Get curious about what they have heard, what they are frustrated about, and what they are skeptical about. Assure them that taking some precautions, especially staying home, is completely reasonable and can be done in a non-panicked way. Make sure to repeat back their concerns to them and make them feel heard and believed rather than heaping all of your own fears onto them.

  1. Emphasize the risk in practical terms.
    Your parents likely have a good understanding about how viruses spread in general. They may already know the basics of how important it is for them to wash their hands. But if they don’t already know, talk to them about *why* physical distancing is important, really to save the lives of people beyond themselves, if they don’t feel personally at risk.

  1. Show them you are taking it seriously.
    In essence, lead by example.

Remember, your parents have been through a lot over their lifetime. Speak to them with your own vulnerability about your care for them, and your fears for them, using “I” statements such as “I’m worried that you will get sick and I won’t be able to get to you” or “I’m afraid that I won’t be able to help you, if you need it” instead of saying things like “you are making the wrong decision” or “how could you still be going out?”

Speak to your parents as you wish they would speak to you. Model the way for them, even if they have not modeled the way for you in the past. Now is the time for us all to step up as leaders, and remember #wereallinthistogether.

Be sure to also check out my ideas regarding personal financial and legal steps you can take to get your (and your parents’) affairs in order, while we are all sheltering at home. If you’ve got questions about that, please give my office a call. We are here to help.

This article is a service of Davidek Law Firm, PLLC. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love.